Sunday, May 1, 2011

SAMPLER FAMILY HISTORIES—Quilts—Stitching Projects

What I've Been Up To—Once again life has been busy and I haven't been able to find time to blog. Better busy than bored I always say. My little grandson Ryan, aged 9 months, spent 2 nights in the hospital last week with bronchiolitis that he probably picked up at daycare. He is slowly getting better, but his breathing still sounds terrible. Babysitting him twice a week has seriously cut into my free time. Why does a baby fight taking a nap? Why is it so much fun to play on the floor with a baby?

My mom turned 90 in March and is doing very well. She plays bridge as much as she can and is in great health. This is a photo of her and my oldest daughter, Katie. My Prairie Schooler ABC is in the background!

I have been trying to catch up on my quilting. I finished quilting a quilt for the Elgin Youth Symphony last week and also 2 quilts for the Our Savior's Lutheran Day Care. I believe all 3 quilts will be raffled as fund raisers. Yesterday I practiced my feather quilting on a crib quilt for a local charity. I have 2 more of these to do plus some others for Quilts of Valor for the troops. Time always seems to be a premium around here. I used my Innova long arm machine that has a 26" throat plate. Fantastic machine. Lots and lots of fun to use.

This is the Elgin Youth Symphony quilt. I only quilted it. Did not piece it.

Years ago Elgin was the home of the Elgin Watch Company so there is watch fabric in addition to all kinds of music fabric.

Great piano key fabric! 

Pre-school peace quilt. I did not piece this, only quilted it.

The kids made palm prints with paint.

2nd peace quilt. The kids were heavy-handed with their paint and I could not quilt through the thick layer of the painted hearts. Just quilted around them!

I took a Joanie Poole from Wisconsin class on "heirloom" machine quilting using my regular sewing machine through my local quilt guild, Riverwalk Quilters. I was amazed that I did okay—probably because I had the long arm experience. This is a tiny piece 18" square approximately on a silk/cotton blend with very thin thread. I have kept my sewing machine in the kitchen to remind me to work on the piece. The tiny gold pins keep the quilt sandwich together until I finish quilting it. The center grid was quilted with a walking foot.

I marked the ivy leaves with a washable blue pen and free hand quilted it with the feed dogs dropped on my machine. I pushed the fabric under the stationery needle of the machine.

When I finish with all 4 ivy corner areas, I am supposed to fill in the extra space around them with a tiny stippling free-hand design--which will probably take forever to do! Ha! Ha

A few weeks ago I taught a class at the Hinsdale Embroiderers' Guild on the technique of punch needle embroidery. I was the second choice for a teacher as the original person wanted $400 + room and board/day! Guess she really didn't want to teach it. I come cheap! Drives me crazy when they call punchneedle "stitching" or "embroidery!" Had a lot of fun as I know many of the gals in the guild and would be a member if I didn't have a conflicting yoga class at the same time as the guild. I taught this pumpkin and also a snowman which is now put away with my Christmas stuff. Always interesting to teach two different designs at one time. If you haven't tried this technique of punch needle, try it as it is fast and fun. The biggest expense is the punch needle and you need a good one. The Cameo brand is just fine. I like the small needle best. Most economical to buy one that comes with small-med-large needles. You can buy the weaver's cloth fabric at Joann Fabric. You'll also need a hoop with a lip because the fabric needs to be drum tight. Punch needle uses up a lot of floss but is a mindless technique--and sometimes we need just that.

I finished my "Naperville" town scene based on a Carriage House design and my friend Mary Garry's version of it. I changed colors and used any fast stitches that I could think of. No cross stitch for me but half cross or satin or scotch, etc. Haven't ironed it yet. I think I stitched on 26 count linen over 1 thread with continental stitch/basketweave. The photos are a bit dark as the piece is laying on my honey-colored wood kitchen floor.